19 Car Insurance Discounts You Didn't Know About
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19 Car Insurance Discounts You Didn't Know About

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19 Car Insurance Discounts You Didn't Know About
miodrag ignjatovic/istockphoto

Which Discounts Do You Qualify For?

Auto insurance is mandatory in every state, but insurance agents aren't required to disclose every discount available to vehicle owners — nor will they tell you which sporty cars they'd rather you didn't buy. That's why it's important to know what is discount-worthy and ask for the best quote possible. Car owners relocating to another state, switching providers, or going through major life events may be eligible for new discounts, as well. Cheapism identified a bunch of discount opportunities to check out. 


Related: The 10 Least and 10 Most Expensive States for Car Insurance

Raise the Deductible
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Raise the Deductible

Deductibles and premiums often go hand in hand in an inverse relationship. A higher deductible means the insured has to pay more when filing a claim, but the savings on premiums can be substantial. 


Related: 12 Tips to Keep You from Buying Too Much Insurance

Toyota Camry
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Limit the Coverage

States mandate minimum liability coverage and new-car owners may feel the need to opt for everything available, but with an older vehicle, collision and comprehensive coverage aren't necessary. A rule of thumb is to stop paying for collision and comprehensive if the annual premiums are more than 10 times the replacement value of the vehicle. Personal injury protection can be reduced for car owners who are confident that their health insurance will cover accident-related medical expenses.


Related: 10 Things You May Not Realize Car Insurance Covers

Buy the Right Vehicle
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Buy the Right Vehicle

Insurance rates vary significantly depending on the vehicle and its age. The cheapest vehicles to insure are generally SUVs, crossovers, and pickups. Driving a vehicle that is just a few years old may result in a discount, as well. Some insurers offer green vehicle and economy car discounts.


Related: 20 Reliable Cars You Can Drive Into the Ground

Fix a Bad Credit Score
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Stick to One Company
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Stick to One Company

Insurance companies are eager to give discounts to customers who buy several types of insurance from them. Clients who already pay for homeowner's or renter's insurance, auto insurance on a different vehicle, or have taken out a life insurance policy should ask how much of a discount they would get on a new auto policy. State Farm has offered up to 17% off multiline discounts (multiple types of insurance) and up to 20% off for multi-vehicle coverage. Sticking with a single insurer year after year may yield a loyalty discount too. Anyone shopping around should contact several insurance companies to learn what the total cost would be if they transfer all their policies. An independent insurance broker can help with this process.


Related: 12 Tips to Keep You from Buying Too Much Insurance

Get Married
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Get Married

Married couples are eligible for all sorts of financial benefits and discounts, including lower premiums. It turns out that studies have shown married individuals are less likely to get in an accident. Lower premiums aren't guaranteed, though, especially if one of the newlyweds has a bad driving record or long commute, or drives a luxury car.


Related: 10 Ways Getting Married Saves You Money

Buy a Safe Vehicle
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Buy a Safe Vehicle

Agents should ask about the safety features of a vehicle, but if they don't, be sure to share them. Automatic seat belts, airbags for drivers and passengers, running lights or adaptive headlights, and antilock brakes can all lead to discounted premiums. Options such as rearview cameras, blind-spot or lane-departure warnings, and tire-pressure monitors (mandatory on all vehicles since 2008) can decrease the cost of insurance.


Related: 30 Essential Car Features You'll Want This Winter

Steering Wheel Lock
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Deter Thieves

Using anti-theft devices such as a steering wheel club, pedal locks, or an alarm system is often rewarded with a discount. Vehicle recovery systems such as LoJack may warrant further discounts, but at $695, it's a costly upfront installation.


Related: 20 Cheap Ways to Protect Yourself From Thieves

AARP. Really?
AARP. Really? by bisongirl (CC BY-NC-ND)

Group-Buying Discounts

Many organizations, clubs, and companies use the power of numbers to negotiate discounted rates with insurance companies. Members of alumni associations, AARP, or any other large organization should check to see if they're eligible for a group-buying discount.


Related: Do You Qualify for These Car Rental Discounts?

Remember Your Service
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Remember Your Service

If you're a military veteran or currently serving, don't forget to ask about a discount. Geico offers up to 15% off insurance premiums plus has an Emergency Deployment Discount. USAA, which only allows military and their children to become members, also has auto insurance discounts specifically for those who serve. Federal employees also get a discount from Geico, too. 


Related: 17 Veterans Benefits You Don't Want to Miss

Get Good Grades
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Get Good Grades

Student discounts often are available to those with at least a B average. Some companies, though, want to see students on the dean's list or at the top of their class. Student discounts, which can reach 25%, don't apply to high schoolers only. Full-time undergrad and graduate students are eligible, although an age ceiling (generally 25) is common.


Related: 13 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Car for a Teen 

Move for School
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Move for School

Speaking of students, many insurers give discounts to policyholders who have added a young student who is attending school at least 100 miles away but leaves the vehicle at home. This makes sense because the student will use the vehicle only occasionally.


Related: 24 Jobs College Kids Can Find Near Campus

Best Bike Locks
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Pay by the Mile

Many auto insurance carriers offer a discount to drivers who don't use their car often. Consider joining a carpool, walking or biking to work, or, in multi-car households, using only one vehicle for road trips; after making adjustments, contact the insurance agent to get a discount. Alternatively, Metromile (available in select states) is a type of auto insurance provider that bills based on the number of miles driven (tracked with GPS) rather than charging a fixed premium.


Related: 18 Cities Where You Can Live Car-Free

Continue Your Education
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Continue Your Education

Drivers who have been behind the wheel for years may think they know everything there is to know, but taking a defensive driving course (even an online course) can lead to lower premiums. For example, State Farm offers the Steer Clear discount to drivers under 25 who have taken their driver training course. In some states, Geico limits the defensive driver discount to policyholders aged 50 and older.


Related: Age Pays — 118 Senior Discounts (Some Starting at Age 50!)

Your Car
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Retire

Older drivers who are not actively seeking a full-time job can get a discount on their premiums. Retired veterans may get an additional discount in recognition of their service.


Related: 18 Popular Cars for Drivers Over 50

Save on Mobile Phone Bills
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Pay Wisely and Always Renew

A lapse in auto coverage can result in increased premiums and even disqualification from some discounts. One option is to pay a year in full ahead of time, which often comes with a discount, or to set up automatic payments, another discount-worthy action. Take particular care when switching carriers and be sure there won't be a lapse.


Related: 30 Money Mistakes You're Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

Holiday Gifts to Buy Now
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Sign Up Early

Don't wait until the last minute to buy or renew an insurance policy. Buying a policy more than a week before it takes effect can lead to savings of anywhere from 3% to 10% at Allstate and Travelers. Knowing this, policyholders may also be able to negotiate with their current provider by threatening to switch and quoting the early purchase discount they would get.


Related: 19 Smart Ways to Get Through a Recession

Keep a Clean Record
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Keep a Clean Record

Perhaps easier said than done, but drivers with a clean record get significant discounts. Geico offers up to 26% off to those who have been accident-free for five years. Allstate gives clean drivers up to 22% off after five years. (Tougher than it used to be — until recently, it was up to 22% off after three years and as much as 35% after five.) Always wearing a seat belt also can lower premiums with some insurers.


Related: 15 Safety Tips for Taking a Road Trip Right Now

GPS Tracking
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Install Tracking Apps

Several insurance carriers offer drivers the option to install GPS tracking in their vehicle. State Farm clients can enroll in the Drive Safe & Save program and install the company's In-Drive app, or use a vehicle's built-in OnStar or Sync systems to track activity. Drivers get up to 5% off right away and up to 30% off as more data is shared. Allstate's Drivewise system monitors drivers' speed, brake activity, and driving times and rewards good drivers with points that can be redeemed for gift cards, brand-name goods, and local offers. One warning: Drivers who get a low-mileage discount may find their premiums go up if the tracking shows they drive more than they claim to. And another: If you're concerned about privacy, forget this tip.


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